Shepparton’s Hanan Muhammad builds business

La Trobe Accelerator alumni and Shepparton dynamo, Hanan Muhammad has turned her passion for shopping into a successful exporting business - 4500kg goods purchased only from Shepparton  businesses are exported monthly.

While most women only dream of shopping for a living, Shepparton’s Hanan Muhammad has made it an everyday reality.

After moving from her home country of Malaysia to Australia in 2016, shopping became one of Ms Muhammad’s favourite things to do.

Having realised that products on the market differed between countries, she began buying items from the local Shepparton area to send to her family and friends in Malaysia.

‘‘When I first started I had to wait three months to get 20kg to send back to my country to friends and family,’’ she said.

Within months word began to spread and more Malaysians sought the products Ms Muhummad offered through her newly established online business.

The business had been up and running for two years when she attended the La Trobe Accelerator Program in 2018.

‘‘I had the idea, I was already running the business ... but I didn’t know how to run the management side of things — I was seeing the money come in but I needed to know more.

‘‘So when I joined this program it really helped me a lot.’’

She said the program allowed her to develop business skills she would not have otherwise.

‘‘It especially helped me in getting my business to grow very fast.’’

Mr Muhammad said prior to attending the program she had an average of 1000 customers each month. Twelve months later, she said her sales business had accelerated beyond what she could have imagined.

‘‘Right now I send 4500kg over every month.

‘‘I serve about 3000 customers each months and I spend $20000 each month.’’

As a mother of eight children, Ms Muhammad said when school time came around, she went to work.

‘‘You can see me shop every single day.

‘‘When all the kids go to school I am free, so I just kill my time shopping.’’

With not far to go since all of her shopping is done locally, Ms Muhammad said every day was a joy finding and purchasing items for her customers.

‘‘I shop a lot in Kmart and Target — I shop a lot here in Shepparton, I don’t go anywhere else,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s all local because I have to support my local community.’’

Ms Muhammad said her story was just one of many examples where a business had been established from a hobby.

She said she could not encourage people to work towards their business goals enough.

‘‘Even if you don’t have degrees or diplomas, if you have the passion to do the business, just go for it.

‘‘I see a lot of the shops are dying — but we have to do something. This is a good regional area, we have the market so just think about the business.’’

Ms Muhammad encouraged people to take the opportunity to attend the upcoming La Trobe Accelerator Program for 2019.

‘‘I want to encourage all of Shepparton to join this program — it’s a very good program.

‘‘We learn new things every day.’’

The La Trobe Accelerator Program is designed for dreamers, future leaders and over-achievers to create or build upon an already existing business.

The 12-week program aims to educate and mentor participants to accelerate their business.

Applications for the La Trobe Accelerator Program close on Monday, June 3 and the program will run from mid September to early December this year.

This article first appeared in Shepparton News, 31 May 2019

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